An investigation into the sale of counterfeit goods has resulted in the seizure of more than 10,000 items that, if genuine, would have retailed for almost £350,000.
In August 2017 Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards Team working on intelligence from Leicester Trading Standards inspected Mr Parts Ltd, based in Moulton Street, Strangeways and discovered a large quantity of counterfeit merchandise on sale.
Brands being imitated included Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Sony and Playstation.
In total, 10,937 items were taken from the premises, including counterfeit phones, accessories and games controllers. The owner of Mr Parts Ltd, Harish Chokra, 30, of Cheetham Hill Road, claimed that the items had been imported from China but he did not have the paperwork to prove that.
Following this seizure his company went into liquidation, however, the Council continued legal proceedings against Chokra in his capacity as the company’s director.
After initially pleading not guilty to eight counts of possession of counterfeit goods, Chokra subsequently changed his plea to guilty for seven counts, which was accepted by the prosecution.
At a sentencing hearing held on July 15 this year he was jailed for 14 months, suspended for two years. A forfeiture order was also made against the counterfeit goods.
No financial penalties were made against Chokra.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “The seizure of the huge amount of fake merchandise at this business represents a big victory for our Trading Standards Team. We have consistently said that the counterfeit goods industry is not a victimless crime, and that it has known links to serious crime, to modern day slavery and the drug trade. Action such as this reminds us that we need to keep doing everything in our power to shut these traders down.
“I’d like to thank our investigating officers and legal team who ensured this successful conviction and to send out a message that if you are trading fake merchandise in Manchester, be certain that we will shut you down.”